This is our sixth annual list of possible breakout players based on Spring Training statistics. We researched the value of Spring Training stats a few years back and it was quite revealing. For the most part, we agree with the common perception that they don’t have value. A bad spring training means nothing. An average spring training tells us nothing. Nevertheless, we did find that when a player has an exceptional spring, it does suggest a better than 60% chance they will take their game up a notch. It applies to teams as well.
We define “exceptional spring” as a positive difference between a hitter’s spring training slugging percentage and their lifetime slugging percentage of 200 points or more.
We analyzed hitters with both a minimum of 200 career regular season at bats and with a minimum of 40 spring training at bats (through spring training games of Tuesday, March 30) and found the following 18 players.
|Possible Breakout Players|
|Slugging Percentage 200+ points better in Spring Training|
|Jose Bautista, Blue Jays||.484||.884||.400|
|Mitch Maier, Royals||.436||.760||.324|
|Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals||.345||.824||.478|
|Colby Rasmus, Cardinals||.316||.723||.407|
|Jerry Hairston, Padres||.302||.675||.373|
|Delwyn Young, Pirates||.288||.673||.385|
|Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks||.283||.714||.431|
|Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies||.282||.756||.474|
|Hunter Pence, Astros||.272||.760||.488|
|Gregg Zaun, Brewers||.262||.650||.388|
|Aaron Rowand, Giants||.260||.708||.448|
|Nelson Cruz, Rangers||.259||.732||.473|
|Justin Upton, Diamondbacks||.254||.739||.485|
|Will Venable, Padres||.252||.679||.427|
|Alberto Callaspo, Royals||.242||.646||.404|
|John Bowker, Giants||.229||.631||.402|
|Mike Aviles, Royals||.223||.651||.429|
|Mark Kotsay, White Sox||.204||.617||.413|
Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, www.statoftheweek.com.